Making sure your turkey is at the correct temperature is so important.
One of the devices made to measure this is a pop-up thermometer.
Which is installed in turkeys that are available in most grocery stores.
But what if your pop-up turkey timer hasn’t popped?
Is your delicious turkey still not done?
Should you even be using one in the first place?
Table of contents
Help – The Button in My Turkey Didn’t Pop
Don’t panic because you shouldn’t be using it anyway…
Do not rely on pop-up timers when smoking turkeys to inform you of internal temps.
In fact, it really doesn’t surprise me it didn’t pop as they are notorious for failing.
Read further to understand why.
As well as what should be used for an accurate reading.
What Is a Pop-up & Why Are They Bad ?
A pop-up timer (is meant to) indicate when the right internal temperature has been reached.
But here we already have a problem.
As turkey has 2 types of meat with different internal temperatures…
How Do They Work?
There is a red indicator stick that is held in a plastic funnel.
The plastic funnel is inserted into the breast meat of the raw turkey.
The mechanism of action in the timer works when the soft metal melts.
The metal holds down a spring.
Upon melting, the spring will release the red indicator.
When the indicator stick pops up, it aims to highlight the internal temperature.
The melting point of the metal is 165˚F.
The Different Internal Temperatures for Turkey Meat
I just stated that turkey has 2 different types of meat.
The white breast meat & dark meat in the thigh or legs.
White Meat in the Breast
A pop-up timer was made to monitor the internal temperature of the breast meat at 165˚F.
Dark Meat in the Thighs & Legs
The safe-to-eat temperature for dark meat is 180˚F.
So what about the leg or thigh meat temperature if you are relying on a pop-timer?
The Timer Is Made of Plastic
I oppose using unnecessary plastic, especially if I might eat it!
The Timer Can Be Inserted Wrong
Would you gamble the risk of food poisoning on the possibility of human error?
If the timer is inserted just a few more inches deep it can hit the breastbone.
If any temperature probe or monitoring device is on a bone it will give a false reading.
The Timer Is Not Reliable
There are so many reports of these timers not popping at all.
This is because they are cheaply made and rely on multiple factors.
Which are generally out of your control.
What’s the point of using one for it to not work and ruin a beautiful turkey?
My Turkey Came With a Pop-up Timer – Do I Disregard It?
You don’t need to remove the timer unless you care about it being made of plastic.
You can always take it out a few minutes before carving.
The Right Ways to Know if a Turkey Is Cooked
Below are the correct ways to monitor the cuts of meat in a turkey.
And you can do this during the whole cooking process.
Which is important as you might need to make adjustments.
Like the cooking temperature or knowing when to wrap the breasts with foil.
Use a Meat Thermometer
For an accurate and proper temperature reading, use a couple of probes.
You can easily insert them into the dark and white meats and monitor them.
Making it easy and simple to remove.
Work Out a Rough Cooking Time
Having a rough guideline to how long your turkey will take is another effective method.
Cooking a whole turkey can sometimes take the whole day.
You don’t always want to be waiting around.
Remember that this is a cooking guideline.
You will still need to use a meat thermometer.
So a 14-pound turkey will cook for 210 minutes.
Final Thoughts- A Summary if the Timer Didn’t Pop
– Do not use a pop-up timer as the only way of monitoring the internal temp.
– There are 2 types of turkey meat with different internal temperatures.
– Use probe thermometers for accurate temperature readings.
– Remove after cooking.
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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